Boating Industry

July 2016

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8 | Boating Industry | July 2016 INDUSTRY NEWS BY JONATHAN SWEET WITH 275 INDUSTRY STAKEHOLDERS in attendance — an increase of 22 per- cent from 2015 — the 2016 American Boating Congress held a successful series of meetings, speakers and Hill visits in May. ABC is organized by the National Marine Manufacturers Association and co- hosted by nearly 40 industry companies and associations, including Boating Industry. ABC is an "important and valuable tool to educate Congress and influence policy and activate change that is good for our industry," said NMMA President Thom Dammrich. "We know that recreation is a significant economic driver of our economy and that fishing and boating are a significant part of that." Advocacy does work, Dammrich said, pointing to a top 10 list of industry accom- plishments since ABC 2015: Reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund Passed legislation to fix model year definition Passed legislation to update engine weight regulations Passed legislation in House to prohibit implementation of marine reserve at Biscayne National Park and introduced companion legislation in Senate Delayed HFC-134 foam regulations for recreational craft until 2020 Passed Magnuson Stevens Act bill in House Merged with MRAA to form stronger BoatPAC Reauthorized Ex-Import Bank until 2019 Added 21 new members to the Congressional Boating Caucus Enabled recreational vessel travel to Cuba. Going forward, Dammrich identified the top five legislative priorities for NMMA and the industry this year: ethanol, recreational fishing, the Water Resources & Devel- opment Act, trade and access. Dammrich also recognized several companies for their work to promote BoatPAC, the industry's political action committee: Ambassadors for Advocacy: Intrepid Power Boats – largest percentage of em- ployees contributing through payroll deduction Influencers for Advancement: Norcross Marine Products – greatest increase in contributions Champions for Growth: Chaparral Boats – highest average contribution This year's keynote speakers were Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson, representing both sides of the aisle. Begala is a Democratic strategist and political contributor for CNN, while Carlson is the co-host of Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends Weekend and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller. Both Begala and Carlson talked about how the success of Donald Trump and Ber- nie Sanders represents a rebellion by the voters of both parties against the status quo. The media and political establishment missed the story because they were focused on the candi- dates, not the voters, Carlson said. "It's not about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders," he said. "It's about the people. Voters are so mad they just nomi- nated Donald Trump." Both Sanders and Trump are tapping a fear in the middle class that it is being left behind, they said. "Bernie Sanders' message is one that looks a lot like Donald Trump's," Begala said. "Their solutions are different, but their diagnosis of the problem is the same." Carlson urged the industry to take its issues to legislators and remember that "they work for you." Begala, an avid fisherman, noted the important role of boating in recreation and the economy, and said it was important to push the industry's agenda. "You make life worth living," he said. "If you can get on a boat, it's a good day. You ought to be damn proud of what you're doing." That sentiment was repeated by many of the speakers during the program. "I have to ask all of you to become stronger voices for the wellbeing of the bodies of water that you work on that, that you enjoy, that you love," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. "If you're not going to lobby for the wellbeing of our lakes and oceans, Paul Beluga (left) and Tucker Carlson gave the keynote at ABC 2016. Industry takes its issues to Capitol Hill PHOTO BY JOHN NELSON PHOTOGRAPHY

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